Samsung 950 Pro M.2 SSD Review - Performance and Verdict Review

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Samsung 950 Pro M.2 256GB and 512GB SSD – Performance

The two drives were tested
using the PCI Express x4 slot on an Asus Z170 Maximus VIII Hero motherboard,
which was set up with an Intel Core i7-6600K and 8GB of Corsair DDR4 RAM.
The benchmarks – CrystalDiskMark and AS SSD – were run to test
theoretical sequential read and write speeds, as well as random read and
write speeds.

Meanwhile, the ATTO benchmark provides a good
impression of how performance varies according to the amount of data that’s written to/read
from the drive.

Samsung 950 Pro M.2 SSD - CrystalDiskMark
Samsung 950 Pro M.2 SSD - AS SSD

Looking first at
sequential speeds, the 950 Pro drives are largely as lightning fast as
expected. In CrystalDiskMark both drives hit around 2,200MB/s read as
well as nearing their claimed write speeds of 1,500MB/s and 900MB/s too.
However, we couldn’t get the 512GB drive to hit its 2,500MB/s
theoretical maximum, which was surprising considering the otherwise
spot-on results.

AS SSD is normally a more taxing benchmark and
sure enough the drives could only hit 1,953MB/sec (512GB) and 1,398MB/sec
(256GB) read speed, which is close but a little behind their rated
maximums. In comparison, the Intel 750 series comfortably hit 2,64MB/sec
in this test.

Otherwise, the write tests for AS SSD were exactly as expected, with rates of 1,439MB/sec and 903MB/sec respectively.

Samsung 950 Pro M.2 SSD - CrystalDiskMark
Samsung 950 Pro M.2 SSD - AS SSD

As
for random read/write performance, we have another largely impressive
showing. In CrystalDiskMark’s 4K QD32 test, both drives trounce the likes
of the Samsung SSD 850 Pro 2TB SATA. The 512GB model hit 743MB/sec read
and 425MB/sec write, while the 256GB model hit 681MB/sec read and 338MB/sec
write. Only the Intel SSD 750 series can do better, delivering 864MB/sec
read and 646MB/sec write.

Likewise, in AS SSD’s 4K-64D test both
drives were awesome, the 512GB model hitting 1,182MB/sec read and 371MB/sec
write and the 256GB version hitting 1,056MB/sec and 298MB/sec write. Again,
though, the Intel drive holds a comfortable lead, managing 1,349MB/sec read
and 668MB/sec write – as you’d expect of an 1.2TB drive that costs £800.

Looking at the ATTO test results, it’s clear to see that the drive hits its high transfer rate very quickly and maintains its impressive performance throughout the test.

Samsung 950 Pro M.2 SSD

All
told, it’s clear that the 950 Pro M.2 series of drives are lightning-fast and will be a
worthy upgrade for those looking for the ultimate in storage
performance, but without having to install a PCI Express card.

Samsung 950 Pro M.2 256MB and 512MB SSD

Related: Best SSDs

Should I buy a Samsung 950 Pro M.2 256GB or 512GB SSD?

The
Samsung SSD 950 Pro M.2 are an ideal upgrade for anyone looking for the
ultimate in performance in the smallest possible package.

They’ll
fit into just about any modern motherboard and should be compatible
with many newer laptops too. You may need to jump through a few hoops –
such as updating your motherboard/laptop’s firmware – to get them
bootable, but otherwise they’re a cinch to install.

All this
performance clearly doesn’t come cheap, but the pricing is fair for the
performance you’re getting. At £169.99 for the 256GB model and £319.99
for the 512GB model, they’re about twice the price of more typical SATA
models of the same capacity – but then they deliver more than double the
performance.

For most home users the extra speed will definitely
be more of a luxury than a necessity. However, as performance upgrades
go, achieving double the performance for double the money is a pretty
rare upgrade option and so will be tempting.

Verdict

Few will need the lightning-fast performance that the latest Samsung’s SSDs offer,
but for those who do, these drives deliver – and at a competitive price. For the ultimate PC storage upgrade, the 950 Pro M.2 should be right at the top of your shopping list.

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